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About this dog

Welcome to the Newfoundland dog microsite. This page contains detailed information on the breed. From this point you can use the above tabs to navigate to the other Newfoundland pages.

- Kitt Killion

Newfoundland Breed Information

Country of origin - Newfoundland (pre-confederation with Canada)

Common nicknames - Newf, Newfie

Classification and breed standards

FCI:|Group 2 Section 2 #50|Stds
ANKC:|Group 6 (Utility)|Stds
CKC:|Group 3 - Working Dogs|Stds
KC (UK):|Working|Stds
UKC:|Guardian Dogs|Stds

The Newfoundland is a large, usually black, breed of dog originally used as a working dog in Newfoundland. They are known for their sweet dispositions, loyalty, and natural water rescue tendencies.

1. Appearance

Newfoundlands ("Newfies" or "Newfs") have webbed feet and a water-resistant coat. Males weigh 60-70 kg (130-150 lb), and females 45-55 kg (100-120 lb), placing them in the "giant" weight range. Some Newfies have been known to weigh over 90 kg (200 lb). They may grow up to 22-30 inches tall at the shoulder.

American Kennel Club (AKC) standard colors of the Newfoundland are black, brown, gray and landseer (black head and white and black body); The Kennel Club (TKC) permits only black, brown and landseer; and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) permits only black and landseer. The Landseer is named after the artist Sir Edwin Landseer, who featured them in many of his paintings. AKC, CKC and TKC all treat Landseer as part of the breed. FCI consider the Landseer to be a separate breed; others consider only it simply a Newfoundland color variation.

2. Temperament

International Kennel clubs generally describe the breed as having a sweet temperament. They have deep barks, are easy to train and are known as guardians, watchdogs and good with children.

3. History

The breed originated in Newfoundland from dogs indigenous to the island. There is some speculation they may be partly descended from the big black bear dogs introduced by the Vikings in 1001 A.D. However it is more likely that their size results from the introduction of large mastiffs, brought to the island by generations of Portuguese fishermen. By the time colonization was permitted in 1610, the distinct physical characteristics and mental attributes had been established in the breed for all time. In the early 1880s fishermen from Ireland and England traveled to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland where there were two main types of working dog: one more heavily built, large with a longish coat, whereas the other was lighter in build, an active, smooth-coated water dog. The heavier one was the Newfoundland and the other was the St. John's Dog, the forerunner of the Labrador Retriever. The dogs were used in similar ways to pull fishnets and heavy equipment.

3. 1. Rescues

During the Discovery Channel's second day of coverage of the AKC Eukanuba National Championship on December 3, 2006, anchor Bob Goen reported that Newfoundlands exhibit a very strong propensity to rescue people from water. Goen stated that one Newfoundland alone once aided the rescue of 63 shipwrecked sailors. Today, Kennel Clubs across the United States host Newfoundland Rescue Demonstrations, as well as offering classes in the field.

In 1832, Ann Harvey of Isle aux Morts, her father, and a Newfoundland Dog named Hairy Dog saved over 180 Irish immigrants from the wreck of the brig Despatch.

And in the early 1900s, a dog that is thought to have been a Newfoundland saved 92 people who were on a sinking ship in Newfoundland during a blizzard. The dog retrieved a rope thrown out into the turbulent waters by those on deck, and was able to bring the rope to shore to people waiting on the beach. A breaches buoy was attached to the rope, and all those aboard the ship were able to get across to the shore.

An unnamed Newfoundland is also credited for saving Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815. During his famous escape from exile on the island of Elba, rough seas knocked Napoleon overboard. A fisherman's dog jumped into the sea, and kept Napoleon afloat until he could reach safety.

4. Health

There are several health problems associated with Newfoundlands. Newfoundlands are prone to Hip dysplasia (a malformed ball and socket in the hip joint), Elbow dysplasia, and cystinuria (a hereditary defect that forms calculi stones in the bladder). Another genetic problem is subvalvular aortic stenosis, also referred to as subaortic stenosis or SAS. This is a common heart defect in Newfoundlands involving defective heart valves. SAS can cause sudden death at an early age. Newfoundlands also tend to slobber copiously, but this is generally more a concern for owners than for the dogs themselves.


"The man they had got now was a jolly, light-hearted, thick-headed sort of a chap, with about as much sensitiveness in him as there might be in a Newfoundland puppy. You might look daggers at him for an hour and he would not notice it, and it would not trouble him if he did." Jerome K. Jerome Three Men in a Boat

"Newfoundland dogs are good to save children from drowning, but you must have a pond of water handy and a child, or else there will be no profit in boarding a Newfoundland." Josh Billings

"A man is not a good man to me because he will feed me if I should be starving, or warm me if I should be freezing, or pull me out of a ditch if I should ever fall into one. I can find you a Newfoundland dog that will do as much." Henry David Thoreau Walden

"Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man, without his Vices. This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the Memory of Boatswain, a Dog." George Gordon, Lord Byron, Epitaph to a Dog.

6. Famous Newfoundlands

* Adam - Seaward's Blackbeard - 1984 Best in Show winner at the Westminster Dog Show
* Boatswain - pet of English poet Lord Byron and the subject of his poem Epitaph to a Dog
* Brumus - Robert F. Kennedy's dog
* Brutus- first dog to complete the Appalachian Mountain Club's "Winter 48"; climbing all 48 peaks in one calendar winter
* Canton and Sailor - A female and male pup aboard a floundering British ship in Maryland that were bred with retrievers to form the Chesapeake Bay Retriever
* Faithful - First dog of President Ulysses S. Grant
* Hector - First dog of President Rutherford B. Hayes
* Josh - Darbydale's All Rise Pouchcove - 2004 Best in Show winner at the Westminster Dog Show
* Lara - First dog of President James Buchanan
* Mother Teresa - The major canine character in the movie Must Love Dogs
* Nana - dog of the Darlings in Peter Pan
* Pilot - pet of Edward Fairfax Rochester in Jane Eyre - first described in chapter 12
* Sable Chief - mascot of The Royal Newfoundland Regiment
* Sgt. Gander the Mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada who was killed in action at the Battle of Hong Kong when he carried a grenade away from wounded soldiers. For this he was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal retroactively in 2000
* Seaman - pet of Meriwether Lewis
* Sirius - dog of Maggie in the book Star in the Storm
* Swansea Jack- Dog of the century
* Thunder- from the book Thunder from the Sea
* Jim(Effrijim)- from the book You Slay Me (Aisling Grey Series)

Copyright (c) 2008 Kitt Killion Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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